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  • Institut d'Estudis Catalans - Einstein Trail

Institut d'Estudis Catalans

The Institut d'Estudis Catalans (IEC) is a private academic, scientific and cultural institution dedicated to research into different components of Catalan culture, such as art and Romanesque architecture.

It was founded in 1907 by Enric Prat de la Riba and admitted to the International Academic Union in 1922. From the very beginning, the IEC has played a key role in normalising the use of the Catalan language and highlighting the region's scientific and cultural achievements.

The Institut d'Estudis Catalans has been housed in the old convalescent home, the Casa Convalescència, since 1931. This beautiful 17th-century building was used by patients from the neighbouring Hospital de la Santa Creu.

Bishop Sentís laid the foundation stone in 1629 but the building didn't open until 1680. It had 200 iron beds, 400 mattresses and paintings to decorate the rooms. The Casa Convalescència led to improvements in the condition of patients who had not fully recovered when they were discharged from hospital, and prevented any future relapses. These lucky individuals were provided with meals, including meat and desserts.

The headquarters of the Institut d'Estudis Catalans are noted for their baroque-style architecture. During your visit, you'll be able to see the courtyard, the garden with the statue of Saint Peter in the centre, the different rooms and the magnificent chapel with its murals and paintings. Some of the leading painters and sculptors of the 17th and 18th centuries were hired to decorate the chapel.

Einstein's three lectures at the IEC - 24, 26 and 28/2/1923

On his visit to Barcelona, in February 1923, Albert Einstein gave three lectures at the Institut d'Estudis Catalans, which was then located inside the Catalan government building, the Palau de la Generalitat.

A hundred people gathered to hear the famous German physicist speak. His first lecture, on Saturday 24th February, was on the restricted theory of relativity and took place in the Sant Jordi hall. The second one, in which Einstein talked about general relativity, was held on Monday 26th. The third and final lecture was on Wednesday 28th and touched on some of the problems of relativity, such as the integration of gravity and electromagnetism.

All the above make the Institut d'Estudis Catalans an essential part of the Einstein Trail.

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